Missing children advocacy group hits the streets

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BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – An advocacy group in New Mexico is hitting the streets hoping to help anyone whose child has gone missing.

The two founders are mothers who know what it’s like to have a runaway.

Often times we see pictures of missing children on social media and parents asking for help. Now a non-profit group in Belen is trying to help parents reunite with their kids.

“Well a couple years ago my son went missing,” said Shonda Murillo, co-founder of Valencia County Missing Children.

In 2013, Murillo’s son ran away twice. He was missing for two weeks at a time.

“I went out and put flyers up. I asked people, I even put a reward up for him. I called the cops every time I saw him because they told me not to address my son,” Murillo said.

She was worried sick. That’s how Murillo understands the fear and anxiety parents experience when they can’t find their child.

“There is hardly anything here in Valencia County that helps kids or helps the parents and a lot of parents I’ve talked to in the past have told me there’s no support,” Murillo said.

That’s why she teamed up with Nadine Osburn. Together they formed a non-profit group to help families of missing kids. It’s called Valencia County Missing Children. The group started in February of this year.

“We ask how we can help. We drive around and follow leads. We will never confront anybody,” Osburn said.

Together, the two moms are determined to find every missing child, starting in Valencia County, runaway or amber alert.

That’s not all though. They do more than reunite missing kids with parents.

“If they need help like counseling we can give them those referrals for that,” Murillo said.

They said they work closely with the Belen Police Department. Since Belen is a small city, they said the department is small too, and it has a lot on its plate.

“Law enforcement does as much as they possibly can and humanly possible,” Osburn said.

At the end of the day, their goal is to change a missing sign to found.

Valencia County Missing Children also works with the Valencia County Sheriff’s Department, but the group makes sure parents file a police report first.

The group welcomes volunteers, but the volunteers have to pass a background check.

To learn more about the group, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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